Recently, The Grub Spouse and I tried out a Blount County establishment called Shiloh Brew & Chew. Recently, we dropped in on another new restaurant with a mastication-friendly name, Macadoo’s Chat and Chew. It’s in the former Vernon’s spot, just off Middlebrook Pike in northwest Knoxville.
We pulled up to a rustic plank-and-stone structure with some exterior warm-weather features like patio seating and an outdoor stage for live music acts. There’s also a gi-normous barbecue smoker outside, which is put to daily use smoking the meats that go into Macadoo’s ’cue-centric fare.
Inside, a central bar area separates flanking dining rooms in what plays out as a roadhouse-style atmosphere. The dining areas feature a no-nonsense hodgepodge of wall pieces, but the presence of a pool table and a couple of dartboards suggests that Macadoo’s caters to a non-dining clientele as well.
We were allowed to seat ourselves, and soon the restaurant’s sole server/bartender was saying howdy and handing us a couple of menus. The appetizers cover a lot of familiar deep-fried territory, including fried pickles, onion rings, hand-breaded mushrooms, etc. You can also get smoked chicken wings to start or try one of three salads (house, Caesar, spinach) and top it with pork or chicken for an additional $3.
The sandwich lineup features smoked pork shoulder and smoked chicken sandwiches as well as a burger, a fried zucchini sandwich, a chili cheese dog and more. Their straightforward barbecue entrees include a half or full rack of baby back ribs, a half smoked chicken and smoked pork shoulder.
I chose a half rack of ribs with baked beans, jalapeno cornbread and potato salad (which I substituted for cole slaw), while The Spouse got the smoked chicken sandwich with mac and cheese.
It’s not uncommon for barbecue restaurants to serve meals quickly since the meats are pre-smoked; it’s often just a matter of plate assembly. But I was surprised that our food took longer than average to arrive, especially given the fact that there was only a handful of tables with diners that night. I think it was a kitchen and not a server issue, in this case.
Once it did arrive, the food delivered several highs and one notable low. On the plus side, the smoked chicken was succulent and alive with off-the-smoker goodness. The bun was fresh, and the mac and cheese made a solid showing. Likewise, my baked bean and potato salad sides were pretty decent, although I felt the latter was a tad on the dry side.
I was disappointed in the ribs, however. The eight bones in the half rack were shorter than what I typically find in the rib world, and what little meat I found clinging to them was dry and hard to separate from the bone. Also, the cornbread was too dry and crumbly for my preference.
Fortunately, we were able to end our meal by sharing a serving of awesome homemade banana pudding, which is served in a glass, parfait-style. There were a few more vanilla wafers than I care for, but at least they weren’t stiff and dry. Overall, the pudding itself was excellent and left The Spouse and me wishing we hadn’t gone halvsies.
So in a split decision, I think much of the menu at Macadoo’s Chat and Chew is worth talking about, but I don’t see myself sinking my teeth into their ribs again any time soon.
Macadoo’s Chat and Chew
Address: 9670 Countryside Center Lane
Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays
Full bar service
Dept. of Health score: 94
Bottom line: Fresh-from-the-smoker barbecue, pub-style games and more await patrons at this new Knoxville noshery.
© 2013, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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